Over the coming months, there will be a lot we will need to make some important decisions that will impact the way Nunhead Knocks operates within our community. The first of these, is how we are structured as a community group.
We value the opinion of each and every one of our volunteers and would love to hear your thoughts if you have a moment to complete our short survey at the bottom of this post.
Nunhead Knocks started out as a loose collection of Nunhead and Peckham residents, connecting those who needed assistance during the Covid-19 crisis with neighbours who could help. At the end of March, we put out a call for donations and BOY did the community respond, donating thousands of pounds in a week, enabling Nunhead Knocks to start offering hot food, grocery shops and other essentials to those in need.
However, in order to manage that money - and to act legally under UK charity law - we realised that we had to create a more formal, legal entity. Regardless of whether we think of ourselves as a “charity” or not, as we have raised over £5000, we are a charity under UK law and need to register with the Charity Commission. And we had to move fast, as the donations were coming in but our lack of legal status meant we couldn’t access them.
We researched many options and ultimately decided that the best bet for Nunhead Knocks was to become an unincorporated charitable association. With input from the community on Slack, we drafted a vision, mission and values for the organisation. We think they are pretty inspirational and you can read them here.
The committee adopted a working constitution in mid-April. This means we became an organisation that has membership and is guided by a steering committee. The current committee members will serve until the first annual general meeting (AGM) of the organisation. At that AGM, which has to be held within a year, the membership will elect a new committee and its officers.
We’re currently reviewing our constitution for submission to the Charity Commission, working with a lawyer/Nunhead Knocks volunteer. The new constitution we’re discussing is almost entirely drawn from the model constitution provided by the Charity Commission, but we have some choices to make that we’d like your input on.
Membership: Our current proposal is that anyone who is over 18 and has either offered to provide assistance or requested assistance through Nunhead Knocks can become a member. Membership is not automatic - people apply and must commit to attending AGMs and special meetings. Members of the association can vote at these meetings and can also call for meetings to be held. They elect Trustees (members of the steering committee) and their officers (Chair, Secretary and Treasurer).
AGM: Under the constitution, we have to hold an annual general meeting within one year to elect new trustees and the officers. While we’d be open to having an AGM sooner rather than later, we recognise that any time we spend organising things like AGMs and elections is time that we’re not reaching out to and assisting our community. Therefore, we think it would make more sense to hold an AGM when the immediate crisis has passed and we have a better sense of what life after Covid-19 might look like, in order to have a discussion about what role Nunhead Knocks might still serve in the community. While we were set up to address immediate needs during the crisis, many of us are inspired and hopeful that the community bonds we’ve seen created through Nunhead Knocks will continue.
We value the opinion of each and every one of our volunteers and would love to hear your thoughts if you have a moment to complete our short survey. Your feedback will help us understand what is important to our volunteers and help us shape the future of the organisation.
Please respond to the survey below here by midnight on Sunday 31st May.
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